A health care worker gives a dose of COVISHIELD to a woman inside a New Delhi classroom converted into a temporary vaccination center to confront the growing COVID-19 crisis in India May 4, 2021. CNS photo/Adnan Abidi, Reuters
A health care worker gives a dose of COVISHIELD to a woman inside a New Delhi classroom converted into a temporary vaccination center to confront the growing COVID-19 crisis in India May 4, 2021. CNS photo/Adnan Abidi, Reuters
NEW YORK (CNS) – Catholic Near East Welfare Association has launched an emergency campaign to help India's local churches respond to the escalating COVID-19 crisis, announced Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari, CNEWA president.

"We cannot watch this catastrophe unfold and not share the heartbreak and feel the need to help," Msgr. Vaccari wrote in an appeal to donors.

India, with more than 20 million reported cases, is second only to the United States in number of infections, and some believe the number of cases are underreported because people are dying at home, without medical care. More than 220,000 Indians have died of COVID-19. Media have shown images of mass funeral pyres, overwhelmed hospitals, a lack of beds and oxygen, and a population overcome with grief.

Msgr. Viccari said emergency funds would help the Vatican agency's partners in India distribute personal protective equipment, medical care, food packets and vaccines.

People can donate at www.cnewa.org/india; by phone at 800.442.6392; or by mail, CNEWA, 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022-4195. All contributions are tax deductible, and tax receipts are issued.